Mid-semester breaks, optional winter session return in 2021-22 calendar

Plans for a near-normal 2021-22 academic year took a step forward this week with the release of a calendar that features two 16-week semesters and an optional four-week winter session. It also includes weeklong fall and spring breaks.

Fall semester will begin Monday, Aug. 23, and spring semester will begin Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022, following the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

"We are moving forward to having in-person classes and activities at pre-pandemic levels this fall," wrote president Wendy Wintersteen and senior vice presidents Jonathan Wickert (academic affairs) and Toyia Younger (student affairs) in a March 24 memo to all employees and students. "Online and hybrid classes will continue to be available for many courses, as they were before the pandemic, to meet students’ scheduling needs and preferred learning styles, but we will return to in-person instruction as the default for our beautiful residential campus."

They noted that planning will continue to hinge on the wide availability of vaccines and a commitment to safe health practices.


2021-22 academic calendar




Summer 2021

Monday, May 17

Friday, Aug. 6

Fall 2021

Monday, Aug. 23

Friday, Dec. 17 (Exams Dec. 13-16)

   -Thanksgiving break

Monday, Nov. 22

Friday, Nov. 26

(Optional) Winter 2021

Monday, Dec. 20

Friday, Jan. 14

Spring 2022

Tuesday, Jan. 18

Friday, May 13 (Exams May 9-12)

   -Spring break

Monday, March 14

Friday, March 18

Summer 2022

Monday, May 16

Friday, Aug. 5

Iowa State piloted a 25-day winter session this year and will offer a four-week option next winter for students who want to catch up or work ahead to meet their graduation requirements. The state Board of Regents has encouraged the three regent universities to offer students a condensed winter option. Three university holidays fall during the optional winter session: Friday, Dec. 24; Monday, Dec. 27 and Friday, Dec. 31. Details about winter session 2021 will be shared on a session website as they become available.